KABUL -- The actions of militants in Afghanistan go against Islamic principles and consequently defame Islam, Afghan religious scholars say.
In particular, suicide bombings and violence under the guise of "jihad" are contrary to the teachings of Islam, they say.
Last year, nearly 11,500 civilians, including more than 3,500 children, were killed or wounded in militant attacks in Afghanistan, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
"Murdering innocent people is a grave sin according to the teachings of Islam," said Mohammad Masoum, a student of Islamic studies at a seminary in Kabul.
Pointing to the increase in civilian casualties in militant attacks, he said the action of militants go against Islamic principles and therefore cannot be linked with Islam.
Despite that, he told Salaam Times, the unscrupulous militants continue to murder civilians.
Afghan religious scholars are unanimous on this point.
Killing civilians and carrying out suicide attacks go against the principles of Islam, said Mulvi Abdulahmad Jabbar, an Afghan religious scholar.
"Islam is a religion of reconciliation, peace and serenity, but militants present a completely opposite image," he told Salaam Times.
"Unfortunately, the militants with their inaccurate and unilateral interpretations present a violent picture of Islam for the world," Mohammad Salem Hasani, an Afghan religious scholar, told Salaam Times.
Religious scholars, representatives of political parties and lawmakers gathered in early January to discuss ways to promote a culture of tolerance in Afghanistan and to persuade militants to stop the violence.
The Taliban and "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) do not have a complete understanding of religion and threaten Afghanistan's territorial integrity, the participants concluded.
"ISIL's ideology is a wrong ideology, they are misinterpreting the religion, they do not know about the religion, they are just tarnishing the image of the religion," Afghan MP Mirwais Yasini said at the January 5 seminar, according to TOLO News.
Misinterpretation of jihad
Militants often resort to the excuse of "jihad" to justify their violence and un-Islamic actions. However, the actions of these groups have nothing to do with "jihad", scholars say.
"In Islam, an act is considered 'jihad' when it results in the preservation of the Muslim community's dignity, bringing repose and pride to all Muslims," Hasani said.
"What is called 'jihad' by the government opposition is really not jihad, because the actions of these groups, which really are a display of violence, have resulted in humiliation and division," he said.
A very small fraction of the actions of militants are in line with Islamic principles, while the rest are completely against Islam, said Waliullah Labib, another religious scholar.
"These militants conduct such non-Islamic acts either because of their ignorance or due to the fact that they are completely out of the circle of Islam," he told Salaam Times.
"Although there exists corruption within the Afghan government, fighting against an Islamic government is in no way considered 'jihad'," he said.
Moreover, one of the militants' main tactics, suicide bombings, is never considered permissible in Islam, he said.
For one, suicide attacks often result in civilian casualties, and secondly, suicide itself is forbidden, he said.
"In none of the Islamic texts and scriptures has the permission to commit suicide ever been granted," Labib said.